NORTH Korea has launched a deluded tourism campaign in a desperate bid to raise funds as sanctions threaten to spike the extensive missile program.
The timing for the new campaign seems a little puzzling as it follows news that the United States has warned all US national in North Korea to “depart immediately” as tensions escalate between the two nations.
The US has also issued a travel ban for any citizens visiting the hermit state.
The news also comes just months after American student Otto Warmbier died after visiting North Korea and being sent home in a coma due to his treatment whilst imprisoned by Kim Jong-un’s regime.
The reclusive country has revamped its website to encourage visitors to enjoy its “beautiful and picturesque landscape”.
The website said: “Today the tourist industry in the DPRK is developing afresh under the wise leadership of supreme leader Kim Jong-un.”
On offer are beaches where “the water is not so deep, yet clear, the sand is as white as snow” and golf courses that excitingly have “an adequate number of service personnel”.
If you travel to the hermit kingdom you can also hit some gnarly waves because “the sea sometimes runs high in some districts, thus giving favourable conditions for surfing”.
In a bid to show a softer side they aim to “promote mutual understanding and cultural bonds between people around the world and develop the national economy”.
The US State Department “strongly warns” citizens to not travel to the secretive state because of the “serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement”.
It is estimated that 1,000 US citizens travel to North Korea annually.
At least 16 Americans have been arrested by North Korean authorities in the past decade, according to the State Department — and that includes “those who traveled independently and those who were part of organised tours”.
Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years hard labour having been accused of stealing a propaganda sign from a hotel.
He was held in captivity for more than 15 months before the secretive state released him to the US in a coma where he sadly died a week later.
Fred Warmbier, his father, said: “The North Koreans lure Americans to travel to North Korea via tour groups run out of China, who advertise slick ads on the Internet proclaiming, ‘No American ever gets detained off of our tours and this is a safe place to go’.
“North Korea doesn’t do anything out of the kindness of their hearts.”
After Mr Warmbier’s death, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said: “There’s no question we shouldn’t have people on a willy-nilly basis going to North Korea. We should have a travel ban, and we’re working on legislation right now.
“We’ve got three Americans [detained] there now. It ends up affecting our own national security.”